A distraught mother has described how her son died in front of his friends while attempting the latest lethal TikTok choking challenge.
Leon Brown, 14, of Cumbernauld, Scotland, was discovered unresponsive in his bedroom after attempting the same dangerous TikTok trend as Archie Battersby. Lauryn Keating, his heartbroken mother, issued a warning to other parents after her son’s friend revealed he wanted to recreate the choking game after seeing it on the video-sharing app. Leon’s friends, she claims, were watching him attempt the challenge via Facetime when tragedy struck and the schoolboy died.
‘One of Leon’s friends told me he had been doing the challenge on Facetime with them after seeing it on TikTok,’ the 30-year-old told the Daily Record. ‘I’m sure he and his friends thought it was a laugh and a joke. However, Leon did not return. Everything went horribly wrong. ‘ Because of what happened to Archie, I was aware of this challenge. ‘However, you do not expect your own child to do it.’ Please warn them that these online games are not worth their lives. They’re not worth the ‘likes’ or whatever they’re doing.’
Leon’s friends and family gathered last week to release balloons in his honor, and the youngster is hoping for a standing ovation from Celtic fans at their next home game. Following the schoolboy’s death, the club’s famous kit, signed by his friends, was left mounted on a railing at their local park. Ms. Keating later stated that she was shocked to discover a trove of videos promoting similar choking games when she searched TikTok. ‘I went on TikTok and wrote out words similar to the blackout challenge,’ she explained. The number of video results that came up on it is insane.’
The Chinese-owned video-sharing app claims to have removed videos of the ‘Blackout Challenge’ from its platform and to have implemented measures to prevent users from sharing or searching for the trend. ‘Our deepest sympathies go out to Leon Brown’s family during this incredibly difficult time,’ a TikTok spokesperson said. Our community’s safety is our top priority, and we take any claim of a dangerous challenge very seriously.’ This type of content is not permitted on our platform and will be removed if discovered.’
Leon’s death comes just weeks after Archie Battersbee’s life support was removed after a protracted legal battle after the youngster reportedly attempted the ‘Blackout Challenge’.
The trend has been linked to the deaths of dozens of children in the United States. It has swept across social media and encourages users to asphyxiate themselves, pass out, and regain consciousness on camera.
His mother, Hollie Dance, has publicly shared her belief that Archie’s tragic case began after the schoolboy took part in an online ‘Blackout Challenge’.
She demanded that popular platforms such as TikTok and Facebook take action against dangerous challenges such as the one she claims killed her son, in which participants strangle themselves with ligatures until they faint. In an interview with the Mirror, she stated that sick people are grooming our children to take on these challenges. ‘And it’s revolting. The people who are exhibiting these challenges are sick,’ she said, referring to adults rather than children.